We first met Kat Patines in December 2017 during our first pop-up in Davao City. She was our first customer. She also became one of our volunteers in 2019 and has written various articles for Sesotunawa.
She is a freelance writer and an amazing dancer. This month, we invited Kat to share her experience as a volunteer in a community kitchen. This is her sesotunawa story.
Access to food is one of our most fundamental human rights, and we at the Art Relief Mobile Kitchen Davao are guided by our conviction that, as a society, we have the capacity to make sure that our fellow Filipinos will not go hungry. We are solely funded by donations, and every food aid run that we plan and execute is lit by the flames of kindness of our people. Even amidst the struggles brought about by the pandemic, we saw a steady stream of generosity from other people, big or small, and these individual tokens of goodwill have empowered collective action, even - and especially - within the communities that we serve.
From coordinating with local barangays to tapping major food businesses, working together has been the primary driver of our missions. We have volunteers of various ages from different sectors, and we even had Indian medical students come and cook with us. Every time we fire up our hearths to help communities in need, we open spaces for dialogues and cultural exchange, and as a volunteer, I believe that these are not just beneficial, they are necessary. It is only through working together that we can capacitate every aspect of our society to realize access to food for everyone and make it sustainable through accountability and good, just development.
Delivering food aid is not charity, it is our moral responsibility. Just as I believe that supporting Sesotunawa is not something that we can opt to do out of the goodness of our hearts, it is what we are called to do: to listen where and when we can, and build each other up so that we all have a chance to share our stories.
For over a year now, Art Relief Mobile Kitchen Davao has delivered close to 17,000 meals for 6000+ families in Davao, as well as Digos and Sto. Tomas.
You can help increase this impact by supporting Art Relief Mobile Kitchen Davao. Get in touch with Angely Chi, Mission Lead of ARMK- Davao Chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org to donate or to find out more about the work that they do.
Words by Kat Petines | Photos from ARMK Davao Chapter Facebook Account